Expert articles and wine tasting videos profiling wines from California, California wine regions, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, & more.

2012 Detert Family Vineyards Cabernet Franc, USA, California, Napa, Oakville, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

Detert is one of the owners of a section of the To Kalon vineyard.  Way back in the day they used to sell to Robert Mondavi.  For my money, they make the best Cabernet Franc in Napa and some of the best in the world.  While it is not inexpensive, for the quality, it is well priced (in Napa terms).  Definitely a mailing list to be on.  Purple in color, a thin ruby line at the rim.  The nose is great with black cherries, cigar tobacco, slight char and a bit of earthiness.  On the palate, this is open and drinking well if still young.  Medium tannins.  Lots of black cherry fruit with some with

2014 Emerson Brown Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$55.00USD

This has certainly improved since release.  I don't think it will get better but no hurry.  Purple in color.  Bright ruby in color with purple swirls.  On the palate, this has cassis, some dark chocolate and baking spice.  On the palate, light tannins.  Flavors of cassis with underlying spice and a touch of earthiness.  Good balance.  Lively energy.  Medium to full bodied.  Good finish.  This should drink well for the next five to seven years, possible longer.  It will go great with a grilled burger but also on its own or just with pizza.  

2017 Jax Vineyards Cabernet Franc 4 Barrels, USA, California, Calistoga, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

A nice in between style of Cab Franc.  Not super ripe but nothing green either.  Purple in color, maroon at the rim.  The nose is nice.  Dusty with black cherries and slight cigar tobacco.  On the palate, this is medium bodied.  Nice black cherry fruit.  A bit of tobacco underneath.  Nice finish.  This is drinking well now and should continue for the next five to seven years.  It drinks easy on its own but will also work with grilled foods and roasts.  

2018 Truchard Chardonnay, USA, California, Carneros, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$26.00USD

Light golden/green in color.  The nose is nice with lemons, pears, floral tones and a bit steely.  just a slight hint of burnt coconut.  On the palate, this is reasonably crisp.  Pear with slight spice/oak.  Nice mouthfeel.  Good finish.  This drank well on its own and worked with with a butternut squash soup.  It probably should be consumed in the next three to five years.  

2015 Rivers-Marie Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Current Price: 
$50.00USD

This did not seem like a proper bottle.  It was quite advanced for its age.  Most likely a cork issue? Golden in color, clear and bright.  The nose has a slight oxidized note to it.  Also, butterscotch and vanilla.  No fruit on the nose.  On the palate, it is a bit cleaner with some lemon and some vanilla.  Clipped on the finish.  A shame as this should have been a bit fresher but it happens.  Drinkable depending on your aversion (or not) to oxidized wines.  I ten to not have as much an issue as most.  If I had to score it, maybe an 83?

2017 Flora Springs Trilogy, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$85.00USD

This is always one of the great wines out of Napa.  The blend is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Petit Verdot, and 3% Malbec. Inky purple in color.  The nose is very nice with cassis and coffee.  On the palate, this has medium tannins.  Black cherries, cassis and some char.  It is delicious.  This was consumed over three nights and was best on night three though excellent on all three.  This still needs a few more years until peak and then should be good for another ten to twelve at least.  The score certainly has a point or two more of upside.  There is a depth and complexity to it that really

2017 Flora Springs Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$50.00USD

Always a sound value in Napa Cabernet's.  I am not sure of the exact blend this vintage, but usually, this is mostly Cab with some Merlot, Malbec and Petite Verdot.  Purple in color, ruby swirls.  The nose has cassis, sandalwood, slight mint and slight chocolate.  On the palate, this is soft and accessible.  Cassis and slight chocolate.  Some depth and complexity but that should develop over the next five to seven years.  Light to medium tannins.  Nice finish. Some depth and complexity but that should develop over the next five to seven years.

2017 Hess Select North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$19.00USD

This was the year the fires hit California.  It is important to be careful due to that but there were no notes of fire tain here.  It is a well priced blend that is 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 7% Malbec, 5% Merlot, and 1% Syrah.  The wine is ruby at the rim of the glass with core of purple.  Mostly opaque and bright.  The nose has cherries, cassis, char, and slight camphor.  With air, slight cedar emerges.  On the palate, this is soft and accessible.  A hint of sweetness.  Slightly drying tannins.  A moderate finish.  This is a very nice wine for immediate drinking.  It works w

2018 Hess Central Coast Pinot Noir, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$19.00USD

This is a value drive Pinot Noir from one of the longtime California wineries.  Ruby in color with slight purple swirls.  On the nose this has cherries, sour cherries, slight hay/earthiness to it.  On the palate, this is ripe, slightly sweet Pinot Noir.  Big cherry fruit.  A bit of underlying cola flavors.  A soft texture.  Light tannins.   Slight bitter note on the finish.

2019 The Hess Collection California Rose Wine, USA, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$12.00USD

This is the inaugural vintage for this wine.  It is a bright pink/watermelon color, clear and bright.  Very unique.  On the nose, this has light cherries with slight watermelon notes.  It is lean but not really light bodied.  Slightly sweet.  Flavors of apples and cherries and a slight bubble gum note.  Light tannins.  It finishes with an ever so slightly bitter note.  Overall, this is refreshing.  It has lots of little parts going on and will probably come together a bit more just in time for warmer weather.  Right now, it worked better with food, but as it comes together, it should drink

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